Honest Christianity – crystallizing formation


Last week I got to do one of my favourite teaching days, the final one of the Leadership and Ministry module. Students are given a list of topics and concepts to explore and they bring with them anything they may want to use to create a display and then have the morning to put the display together. The picture gives an idea of what they do, thanks Abby.

At the same time our Bonhoeffer daily readings book was talking about formation too. I cannot put it more eloquently than the translator of Bonhoeffer’s work, and these quotations are from Ethics:

The real human being is the object neither of contempt nor of deification, but the object of love of God…To be conformed with the one who became human means that we may be the human beings that we really are…God loves the real human being, God became a real human being.

Such a reassuring quotation when we in all our humanity sometimes reflect on who we are not rather than who we are.

Bonhoeffer had first shared his understanding of the term:
Hence we must understand by ‘formation’ something quite different from what we are accustomed to mean, and in fact the Holy Scripture speaks of formation in a sense that at first sounds quite strange. It is not primarily concerned with the formation of the world by planning and programs, but in all formation it is concerned only with the form that has overcome the world, the form of Jesus Christ…’conforming our form to Christ’s own’ (Gal 4.9).

And Bonhoeffer sees that not as a striving on our part to become more like Christ but a process through which Christ works in us,
A Year with Dietrich Bonhoeffer Harper Collins 2005, November 19/20.


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